Holy Family’s Detention Ministry provides visitation in Christ to incarcerated youth at Central Juvenile Hall in East Los Angeles under the supervision and direction of the Archdiocesan Office of Restorative Justice.
Formed as a result of the enthusiastic response to a 2004 four-part series on Juvenile Justice sponsored by Holy Family’s Social Concerns Ministry, Detention Ministry is, in reality, a “ministry of presence.” The main thrust of a volunteer’s work is to be present to these young people during a very stressful and often lonely time in their lives and to offer them the understanding and friendship of a caring adult. While there are occasional opportunities to provide sacramental catechesis if requested by an individual youth, the ministry is not primarily a catechetical or evangelization ministry.
On a typical Sunday morning, volunteers from Holy Family and other parishes in the Archdiocese gather at 8:30 a.m. for Mass with Catholic youth and, afterwards, visit with small groups in the housing units. On Wednesday evenings, volunteers are given the opportunity for one-on-one visits with youth who request a visit from a Catholic volunteer. Central Juvenile Hall, located near USC medical buildings, is the oldest of three juvenile halls run by the Los Angeles County Probation Department. Children incarcerated in the halls range in age from 8 to 18. Volunteers must be at least 21 years of age and must receive a security clearance from the Probation Department. Training is provided by the Archdiocesan Office of Restorative Justice.
Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative
Paula Van Houten